For the first time in 16 years, Oklahoma voters will have a real choice in the November elections. Today, the Oklahoma Election Board announced that the Libertarian Party met the petition requirement necessary for qualification.
In a press release sent today, the Libertarian Party celebrated this news while also lamenting the limited window for registering as a member of the party while also announcing the date of its State Convention.
Oklahoma law gives very little time for voters registered as Republican, Democrat, or Independent to re-register as Libertarian. The deadline for changing party affiliation is March 31, 2016. Those who re-register as Libertarians will be able to participate in the April 23rd Libertarian Party State Convention. (See details at http://oklahomalp.org/2016-state-convention/)
The deadline for first time voters to register in the Libertarian Party is June 3, 2016. All registered Libertarians and Independents will be able to cast votes for Libertarians in the June 28th statewide primary election.
However, if you want to run for office as a Libertarian, the Oklahoma Election Board will be accepting party affiliation changes for an additional five days after March 31. This is due to the overlap between the 15 days allotted by law to change parties if candidates wish to run under a newly qualified party and the April 1 cutoff date for party changes during primary season.
According to the Election Board, around 72% of the signatures gathered were deemed valid.
The Libertarians gathered 42,182 signatures. Of those, 30,517 were deemed valid. The minimum number needed to certify a new party was 24,745.
Finally, the Libertarian Party wishes to thank all those who made this effort possible.
The leadership of the OKLP would like to acknowledge all those who worked to bring another option to the voters of Oklahoma. A successful petition drive was just the beginning and now our focus will be reaching voters and candidates with the reality of looming deadlines.
Here is a link to the official press announcement from the Election Board.
The Green Party of Oklahoma also attempted a petition this year, but were unable to meet the required petition goal. This shows just how difficult Oklahoma’s reformed ballot access laws remain for grassroots parties.